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Drama - Completed 2011

A Samurai Assassin Sojourns to Edo on a Mission to Choose Between Love or Duty.
Shuhei Fujisawa's Masterpiece Fiction Cuts Right to the Center of the Japanese Soul.

    • Year of production
    • 2011
    • Genres
    • Drama, Action/Adventure
    • Countries
    • JAPAN
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 1 - 3 M$
    • Duration
    • 103 mn
    • Director(s)
    • Tetsuo SHINOHARA
    • Writer(s)
    • Yasuo HASEGAWA, Kenzaburo IIDA
    • Synopsis
    • Unasaka clan retainer Sakunosuke Inui (Noriyuki Higashiyama) has been ordered by his lord to hunt down and kill a clan deserter, Morie Sakuma (Ainosuke Kataoka). Sakunosuke has been chosen in part for being the only equal to Sakuma in swordsmanship, but he is hesitant for reasons other than martial aptitude. The two had been old friends and sparring partners. Sakuma is also married to Sakunosuke’s sister, Tazu (Rinko Kikuchi), and Sakuma’s disappearance resulted from having criticized the incompetent agrarian reform efforts of his overlords. He had sent his lord a missive in which he spelled out specific policy failures that, although rational, drew the ire of those above him as an act of insubordination. Sakuma, fearing that the wrath of those above him could only be appeased by his death, eventually flees from the domain with his wife.
      Upon consulting his family, Sakunosuke is told by his mother (Chieko Matsubara) to refuse the duty as it can only lead to a tragic fight between siblings. But his father (Tatsuya Fuji) insists that his son must obey his lord even if it means killing his own sister. For her part, Tazu, is sure to stand up to her brother to defend the honor of her husband, a sense of righteousness and strength of character that Sakunosuke knows only too well. But like his sister, he too is a born and bred samurai and his path is clear. He must depart on a journey to find and strike down Sakuma.
      On the eve of departure, Sakunosuke’s attendant, Shinzo (Ryo Katsuji) asks to accompany him. Having grown up with Sakunosuke and Tazu, Shinzo and had been like a younger brother. As an adult, however, he had come to know his place, dutifully submitting himself as a servant and calling Sakunosuke “master”. But Shinzo had also grown up with a strong connection to Tazu, leading to feelings of love between them that Shinzo continued to nurture. As children, the three often played by a nearby river. So when Tazu and Sakuma go into exile, they choose a similar looking riverside as their hideaway home. The stage is thus set for a fateful confrontation that promises to flush out true feelings while simultaneously threatening to tear asunder familial bonds.